How to Make the Perfect Cafe Latte
What you need:
Espresso machine with steaming wand
Ground espresso beans
Small pitcher for steaming milk
Sugar, if desired
Optional: Flavored coffee syrup, cinnamon or cocoa powder
1.Clean your equipment
The first step in creating the best cafe latte at home is to ensure that your equipment is absolutely clean and sanitary. This includes your milk pitcher, espresso machine, steaming wand and anything else that will come in contact with either the water, the espresso or the milk. Improper cleaning can lead to contamination.
2.Prepare the espresso machine
Fill the designated receptacle in your espresso machine with water and turn the machine on. Most espresso machines will require a few minutes to heat the water to a proper brewing temperature.
3.Fill the basket with espresso
The next step toward making the best cafe latte is to fill the coffee basket in your espresso machine with espresso grounds. Fill the basket until it is just under the rim and use a spoon to tamp the coffee down into the basket. Some espresso machines come with a tamper that is designed specifically for this purpose. If yours does, go ahead and use it but if not, a spoon does the trick nicely.
The next step in making your cafe latte is to master steaming the milk. Depending on the size of the latte you want, pour an appropriate amount of milk into the pitcher. Insert the steaming want into the milk to a depth that is just below the surface of the milk. Your espresso machine may have an attached steaming wand, but if it doesn’t you can purchase one separately. Now is also the time to insert the thermometer into your milk pitcher. Press the “steam” button and wait to hear a gurgling noise. That gurgling is your indication that the milk is getting aerated and when it comes to making a good latte, that is key!
While keeping the want just below the surface of the milk, pull the pitcher in a downward motion slowly as the level of the milk begins to rise. As the milk continues to steam, keep an eye on the thermometer. Ideally, you should aim for a temperature of around 140 degrees. If you prefer your lattes “extra hot” so that they will stay hot longer, aim for closer to 160 degrees for your milk.
5.It’s espresso time!
Now it’s time to pull your espresso. If you want a flavoured latte, add the syrup to your mug before you add anything else. For a medium-sized latte, it’s standard to use either 2 or 3 “pumps” of syrup but since it’s your latte, the choice is yours!
6.Add milk and foam
Holding back the foam in the pitcher with a spoon and allow the steamed milk to pour into the mug, leaving space for foam. Use the spoon to top your latte with your preferred amount of foam. Sprinkle with cinnamon and/or cocoa powder if desired.